Thursday, October 27, 2011

The loss of trust leads to the loss of life


This past Sunday I looked at the first half of Genesis 3, showing that the Fall of humanity into sin came about because of a failure to trust God. This loss of trust led to the loss of life. We are to live by faith, but to make decisions apart from faith, apart from God’s Word and will, leaves only death and judgment. It makes me think of a story…Tom was approaching the first hole one day at the golf course. The 1st hole was a long par 3, that required a 200 yard drive over a large lake, to a green surrounded by water. He had just been given some brand new golf balls (Titleist ProV1, approximately $4/ball) for his birthday. Being a Christian man, he bowed briefly for a word of prayer and asked God if he should use a new ball or one of older, scuffed up balls that could be hit into the water with less grief. Just then Tom heard an inaudible voice, “Use the new ball.” In faith, he walked up to the tee, teed up the new ball, and then heard from above once again, “Take a practice swing.” Tom obeyed. Immediately, the voice spoke again, “With a swing like that, use the old ball.” (source unknown)
Admittedly, the story is corny, but it does give a good picture of what it means to heed God’s Word in our lives. God’s plans and commands are never arbitrary. They are for our good. They are for our life. We keep ourselves from life, when we keep ourselves from God’s Word. We keep ourselves from life when we fail to obey God’s Word. Deuteronomy 32:47 reminds us of the surety of God’s Word for us: “They are not just idle words for you– they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
(From the Cornerstone Church Pastor Post on October 12, 2011)

The Electric Guitar and the Local Church

Drew Hill, a friend doing church and parachurch ministry in North Carolina, had me offer some thoughts on YoungLife and parachurch ministry as it relates to the Church. Drew, thanks for the chance to be a guest on your great blog!

You can read the post here: http://younglifeleaders.blogspot.com/2011/10/7th-c-electric-guitar.html

My post is one of many this week on the interaction between the local church and parachurch ministries like YoungLife. I encourage you to check out the other posts in the series.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glorious Ruins - Genesis 3:1-24

A number of people from Cornerstone Church asked for the manuscript and audio files for my 2 sermons in Genesis 3. So, I've combined all the sermons into one pdf document that you can download by clicking this link: DOWNLOAD

You can also download audio files for each of these sermons by right-clicking and saving link as:
PART 1 - http://www.cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/11-1009_Glorious_Ruins_1_Genesis_3--1-13_Matt_Proctor.mp3
PART 2 - http://www.cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/11-1016_Glorious_Ruins_2_Genesis_3--7-24_Matt_Proctor.mp3

These sermons show how the Fall of humanity into sin came about and the ramifications for such a rebellion.

Big idea in sermon #1: The loss of trust is the loss of life.
Big ideas in sermon #2: Humanity was created to have significance from and access to God. To lose these in the Fall has sent us spiraling downward...Lord willing. to a place of desperation for God.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Becoming Human through Christ

From a recent mediation (9/30/2011) for my church family in the Pastor Post:


The Big Idea of last week’s sermon was simply this: Humanity, as male and female, are created to worship God. This concept is picked up a bit in Margery Williams classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. A book that chronicles the journey of one stuffed, toy rabbit who becomes a real, heart-thumping and leg-jumping hare. It’s about being real, having a true identity…and may I suggest becoming fully human. The Velveteen Rabbit’s journey is like our own, a journey from being confused, broken and distorted humans into those who are meant to reflect Jesus Christ in our lives. The process is slow; the process if painful, but slowly as we believe in Jesus Christ and learn to walk in relationship with Him we become what we were meant to be all along: humans created to know, love, and serve God. Let me share with you one paragraph from this great book:
    The Velveteen Rabbit turned to the old wise experienced Skin Horse in the nursery, and asked ‘What is real? Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stickout-handle?’ The Skin Horse replied: “Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child really loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. ‘Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘Does it happen all at once, or bit by by?” ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse, ‘You become. It takes a long time…Generally, by the time you are Real most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get very shabby..but once you are Real you cannot become unreal again. It lasts always.
   God uses all of the ups-and-downs of life to make us who we are meant to be. Every wound has a purpose; every trial a plan. God works good for His children that they might be conformed to the image of His Son. We can rest in God’s transforming love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fight the good fight of faith

We can learn something from the Confederate military hero, Stonewall Jackson. He once remarked, "My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my own death." This man spoke of physical battles, but how much more so can Christians fight the good fight of faith, knowing they are secure in the arms of God. There need be no fear (2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews. 12:2, Romans 8:31ff). Fear does not come from God but from the Enemy.

Friday, October 07, 2011

WE love you Great-Grandma Betty

While mom is off loving Grandma Betty in South Dakota, the boys wanted to send their love her way as well.

Samuel hard at work! 




Caleb a "bundle of joy" after his nap :)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Why did God allow evil?

Pastor John MacArthur speculates:

Now the question then comes up...why would God allow sin?  Come on now, I...I...I can only speculate.  There's no specific statement but I think you can make a fairly reasonable speculation beyond which I cannot go and don't find any value in tempting to go.  And it is this, what did sin...what did sin coming into the world bring about?  Well it brought about, I would say, three things.  And these are the three reasons why I believe God allowed evil.

Number one, it brought about the salvation of sinners, right?  God had to allow sin, God had to decree sin in the plan though never the author of it, in order that He might save sinners. 
Well why did God want to save sinners?  To put on display attributes that otherwise never would have been manifest, right?
 

How is God going to show grace if there aren't any sinners?  How is God going to show mercy if there aren't any sinners?  That was a part of God's nature that God wanted to display for His own glory throughout all eternity.  So God provided a means by which He could demonstrate grace, demonstrate mercy.  He also wanted to show love, love that is so far reaching that it can reach even His own enemies who hate Him. How is He going to show that if He doesn't have any enemies?

So God allows evil in order that He might demonstrate grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation.  Secondly, He allows evil in order that He might display His wrath...in order that He might put His wrath on display, His anger on display, His judgment on display.  How would God ever reveal that part of His true and eternal nature if there were not an opportunity to judge sinners?  And so, all you can do is look at redemptive history and you see the salvation of sinners and the damnation of sinners and that is what goes on and you see ultimately a place prepared for those who are damned and a place prepared for those who are saved and you must conclude then that the eternal purpose of God was to save some and judge some in order that He might demonstrate both His grace and His wrath.

And then I like to throw a third thought in there.  I believe that God allowed sin in order that He might forever destroy it.  As long as His creatures have any measure of freedom, as long as His creatures have intelligence, that is they can know and reason, that is they can process that knowledge toward behavior, and choice, that is they can choose what to do, as long as they have that capacity there is a potential for them to fall short of the standard.  Right?  To make the wrong choice.  Well it didn't take long for them to do it.  We don't know how long it was before Lucifer made the wrong choice before God.  We don't know how long it was even in the Garden before Adam and Eve made the wrong choice, but it was certainly before they had any children.  They had their children probably around the age of a hundred or a little more. 

So there is choice and the potential of a wrong choice is there.  A measure of freedom is given to the creatures by which they can choose to honor God, by which they can choose to dishonor.  As long as that is there, then the reality, the potential reality of evil exists when the wrong choice is made. And I believe that once the wrong choice is made, then God goes into action and one, He can demonstrate His grace and salvation; two, He can demonstrate His wrath in judgment; and three, He can then finally destroy evil.  It's almost as if God wanted evil to come to the surface so that He could excise it.  That's what's going to happen when the whole of redemptive history is complete, when all the saved are saved and all the lost are cast into the lake of fire, then death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire. What does that mean?  No more death and no more hell and no more judgment.  Why?  Because there won't be anymore sin.  And when you go to heaven, there's nothing there that smacks of a sinful world, right?   There's no more sorrow, no more sadness, no more sin, no more dying, no more death.

From his 2000 sermon - "The Origin of Evil"

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pastor Matt Proctor Sermons and Sermon Podcast

With my church's new website (http://cornerstone-marion.org), we now have a regular podcast.

So for my mom and the other 2 of you who are interested in my sermons, you can use this link to get regular downloads of my sermons: http://cornerstone-marion.org/category/sermon-audio/feed/

You can see the majority of my sermons at: http://cornerstone-marion.org/category/sermon-audio/

We keep older sermon mp3s on file if you are looking for a mp3 we've pulled off the web.

Theological Truism - Salvation by grace through faith...

The assurance of salvation from sin, death, and hell is only through faith in Jesus Christ.
NIV 1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
ESV Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

The assurance of faith is works (that is, real faith works).
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Works do not save.
ESV Galatians 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Implications:
   1) A person who claims to be a Christian but lives like the devil is probably a the son of the devil rather than a son of God.
   2) A person who does all kinds of good works might not be saved from sin. No one is righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). Our righteous deeds are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). All good deeds which attempt to put God in our debt are rubbish/dung compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-8).
   3) God's children will reflect His character. ESV John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
   4) The proper response to a life without works is to deal with faulty faith. We are justified and sanctified by faith (see 2 Cor. 3:18). Turn to Jesus Christ; look to Him for salvation; rest in the salvation that he purchased on Calvary, dying for our sins and ultimately resurrecting victorious over sin, death, and hell. 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Books read in September

Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald: possibly the best book I've ever read. I only wish there were English translations of the hard to read Scottish dialect.
I Married You by Walter Trobisch (short/profound book on marriage)
The Once and Future King by TH White (Arthurian legend retold; I got bogged down in the middle, but really liked the final 100 pages or so)
The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation by John Sailhamer (finally finished this helpful book, but disappointed this long book had to be so repetitive. It could have been reduced to 1/3 its final length and saved this and other readers a lot of time). In fact, I think if you read this helpful published essay, you could skip the book-length version, http://www.ibr-bbr.org/IBRBulletin/BBR_2000/BBR_2000_1a_05_Sailhamer_CreationCanon.pdf

Currently Reading:
A History of the American People  by Paul Johnson (a wise Brit speaking truth about the founding and progression of this fascinating country)

Pilgrim's Regress by CS Lewis (read aloud book with Carrie)
The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis (I have been going through Lewis' daily readings since March...great great snippets for thought)
Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders (reading this a few chapters a month with my mentor)